Federal prosecutors are insisting that they properly labeled a prominent Muslim advocacy group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, as a participant in a criminal conspiracy to support Hamas. In a brief filed Tuesday night, prosecutors asked Judge A. Joe Fish in Dallas to reject an unusual motion from the council, also known as Cair, to strike its name and the names of all other groups and individuals from a list of unindicted co-conspirators filed in late May during the lead-up to the trial of five men on terrorism support charges. The men, all of whom were officials of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, went on trial before Judge Fish in July on terrorism-support and other charges.
Prosecutors said their decision to list Cair as part of the Hamas network was legitimate because evidence presented at the Holy Land trial has included a memorandum describing the group as part of the " U.S. Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee" and indicating that the purpose of the committee was to support Hamas. The prosecution also noted that an FBI agent testified that two founders of Cair, Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmad, attended a 1993 meeting in Philadelphia that prosecutors contend was a gathering of Hamas backers opposed to the Oslo accords reached earlier that year between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization. "Cair's participation as a joint-venturer and co-conspirator is a matter of public record in this case," a prosecutor, James Jacks, wrote...An attorney for Cair, William Moffitt, said the government's arguments were flimsy and amounted to guilt by association. "We've looked at the paper and we're almost laughing at it," he said. "You have a group with numerous people all doing different things. They take two people who did something together and all of a sudden it means they're all members of Hamas. Can you imagine where that would have taken us back in the era of the NAACP? On that theory because I have Mao's Little Red Book in my library that makes me a communist." The Sun